Narrow Band Power-Line Communications Completes

By IEEE   |   Wednesday, 14 August, 2013
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New Delhi, India, 12 August 2013 – IEEE, the worlds largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity, today announced the success of the first sponsor ballot for IEEE P1901.2™ “Draft Standard for Low-Frequency (less than 500kHz) Narrowband Power-Line Communications (PLC) for SmartGrid Applications.” Once approved, the standard is intended to specify a new generation of PLC technology for transmission frequencies of less than 500kHz and addresses a host of existing and emerging smartgrid applications.

During the initial balloting that closed on 11 July 2013, the draft IEEE P1901.2 standard received 96 percent super-majority approval. This major milestone marks the final phase of the standardization process; the working group expects the completion of the standard this year.

“With this major step forward, we are now closer to the advent of converged standards that will trigger a gigantic world market for a new breed of power-line communications technology,” said Richard Schomberg, vice president of smart-energy standards for EDF Group. “This standard also bridges the gap of resilience-performance-cost, empowering a large value-added class of applications from home energy-management systems to smart metering and smart energy.”

Comprised of three foundational components—physical/medium access (PHY/MAC) layer, coexistence and electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) requirements—IEEE P1901.2 supports the balanced and efficient use of the PLC channel by all classes of low-frequency and narrowband devices. The draft standard helps define detailed mechanisms for coexistence among standard technologies operating in the same frequency band.

In addition, the draft standard addresses low-frequency, narrowband PLC over low-voltage lines of less than 1000V between transformer and meter, through transformer low-voltage to medium-voltage (1000V up to 72kV) and through transformer medium-voltage to low-voltage power lines in both urban and in long-distance (multi-kilometer) rural communications. IEEE P1901.2 is also designed to support lighting and solar-panel PLC.

“The smart grid industry was in need of a solution for 21st-century applications and services, and this standard, once completed, will allow for the flow of technology that meets thoseglobal requirements,” said Jim LeClare, chair of the IEEE Low-Frequency Narrowband Power-Line Communications Working Group and principal member technology staff, Energy Solutions for Maxim Integrated Products. “IEEE P1901.2 is intended to facilitate the growth of the smartgrid market. Global industrial communication projects have been moving ahead quickly based on low-frequency, narrowband power-line communications with limited, unified guidance from standards. IEEE P1901.2 brings together all the necessary components needed for the industry to move forward more cost-effectively and efficiently.”

“IEEE P1901.2 is built on a solid foundation of requirements developed by a diverse team of experts that represents all players in the value chain delivering solutions to the smartgrid industry,” said Oleg Logvinov, vice chair of IEEE Low-Frequency Narrowband Power-Line Communications Working Group and director of special assignments, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics. “IEEE P1901.2 pushes the envelope of scalability, reliability, performance and security. It leverages the most recent techniques and innovations of communications technology and smartgrid security framework. The working group succeeded in pulling together key experts from around the world to develop this standard. As a result, the requirements were met by employing cutting-edge technologies and system architectures. The draft standard is natively designed for the modern smart grid.”

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